The Pirate Party barely managed to squeeze into Alþingi (Icelandic Parliament) in the general elections in 2013, by beating the 5% threshold to get in. Out of 63 parliamentarians, the Pirates have 3 MPs. Subsequently, the Pirate Party also ran in the mayoral elections, getting one seat in City Hall, resulting in a coalition partnership in Reykjavík with 3 other parties.
Political analysts were – and still are – wary of attributing this rise to the party’s policies, but now a new Gallup poll published yesterday (30th of April) shows that the Pirate Party is the biggest political party in Iceland with 30.1%, while government approval ratings are at 32%.
The Pirate Party MPs have been fighting for democratic reform, the adoption of a new constitution, copyright reform, and legislation safeguarding freedom of expression and freedom of information. The party rotates its leadership, believing not in political hierarchies. Its focus is on a democracy of increased, and direct, public participation, with various measures introduced into the political system to ensure the public’s access to decision making.
So far, this looks not to be a blip, but rather a continuing trend, and as such, completely unprecedented in Icelandic Political history where the Indepdence Party (Tory equivalent) has generally been the biggest party. The Independence Party now polls at 22.9%, being the second biggest party, with Social Democrat Allience at 14.1%, Left Greens at 10.6%, Progressive Party at 10.1% and Bright Future at 7.8% respectively.
From the point of view of IMMI, we hope that this upsurge will function as a wake-up call to all political parties and MPs to focus on democratic reform, the IMMI resolution which was unanimously adopted by Parliament, and the systemic changes the public demands.